ABC 15 News in Phoenix reports that a Department of Public Safety (DPS) trooper caught a driver using the HOV lane on U. S. Highway 60 with a mannequin rather than a second passenger.
The trooper, who was a recent graduate of a law enforcement academy and was doing field training spotted the driver with a fully dressed mannequin strapped into the front passenger seat of her vehicle.
The trooper pulled the motorist over and cited her for the violation.
Such incidents are more common than what many people might believe. Because children and infants inside vehicles also count as an additional occupant, a woman was cited last year for using a baby doll in her grandchild’s car seat so that she could use the HOV lane.
A spokesperson for the DPS told ABC News that there are approximately 4,000 people who are cited each year for violating HOV lane rules.
HOV lanes are reserved for vehicles that have two or more occupants inside. These lanes were created to help alleviate some of the congestion on our highways and freeways where traffic can often slow down to a crawl. HOV or High Occupancy Vehicle lanes create an incentive for people to save money and get to their destinations faster if they share a ride.
There are restrictions to using an HOV lane such as being available to commuters from the hours of 6:00 a.m. – 9 a.m. and 3:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m., Monday through Friday. Any other time outside of those hours and during weekends, HOV lanes are free to be used by everyone.